Milton in the News – 1877

By Muriel Bristol (Transcriber) | February 28, 2019

In this year, we encounter a minister’s departure, a singular woman, and a stereotyper’s heart failure.


NEW HAMPSHIRE. Rev. S.F. Lougee is called to the church in Danbury, and Rev. D.B. Scott to the church at Milton Mills (Vermont Chronicle (Bellows Falls, VT), April 28, 1877).

Rev. Darius B. Scott was not called to the church at Milton Mills. He left there when he was called to the church at Lynnfield, MA. (See his arrival in 1873).


Miss Joanna Farnham died at the American House hotel, on Hanover Street in Boston, MA,  May 19, 1877. She was a daughter of the Bunker Hill veteran Ralph Farnham, who drew so much attention in 1860. The story of her passing, and the discovery of her “nesting” trunks, became a viral story that was copied many times across the whole country. (It was even revived in 1894).

1877. March 19. Joanna Farnham, aged 81 years, 11 months, and 56 days, died at Hanover [Street], Boston, female, single, born Acton, Me., daughter of Ralph (born Lebanon, Me.) and Mehitable (born Raymond, N.H.), lung fever, buried Acton, Me., B.F. Smith, informant (Boston Vital Records).

BG760126-American House.jpg
Reduced or deflated rates after the Panic of 1873

A SINGULAR WOMAN. Foster’s Democrat, of Dover, N.H., of the 19tb, ult., gives a singular history of a Milton woman:

A short time since some of the Boston papers noticed the death of Miss Joanna Farnham, about 80 years of age, and for a long series of years known as the housekeeper at the American House in Boston. She went from Milton, N.H., in her early days, and during her long life at the hotel nobody supposed she had any property, and at her death it was not generally known that she had a surplus dollar anywhere. But she had a trunk at the American House, which was opened and found to contain a variety of dry goods, notes for $5,000 against the proprietor of the American House, a bank book of the Blackstone bank, showing deposits of $1700, a small sum of money, and also a piece of paper having a trunk key wrapped up in it, and on the paper was a writing stating that the key belonged to another trunk, which could be found at the house of a relative in Milton. This led to a visit to Milton, and there some very curious developments were made. The trunk referred to as being at Milton was found, opened with the key found in the former trunk, and this second trunk was packed full of all sorts of fine wearing apparel, and contained also a key in a piece of paper, upon which was the statement that this key belonged to another trunk at a certain other place. And so this thing was followed up until twenty very large-sized trunks and three huge packing chests were found, all crammed full of the most expensive articles of ladies’ wearing apparel and house furnishings that the Boston market afforded.

When these trunks and boxes were all collected they loaded down a four-ox team, and were drawn to a large hall in Milton, unpacked and inventoried, preparatory to an auction sale for the benefit of the heirs. Among all these valuables were 89 dresses, new and perfect, made of silk, velvet, satin and all kinds of plaid silks, black and colored thibets, poplins, alpacas, brilliantines, cashmeres, etc., three silk velvet cloaks, 19 shawls, from common to the richest paisley and wrought crape; 106 skirts of all colors; 114 pairs of hose; undergarments of all kinds, too numerous to mention; table linen, towels, handkerchiefs, counterpanes, sheets, coverlets, blankets, live geese feathers; sets of elegant China ware; a large lot of table and teaspoons of best coin silver, silver knives and forks; a fine gold watch and chain, and a large lot of fine jewelry, &c. It is said that the best dress cost not less than $200. All of these goods are perfectly new and in the best order, never having been used. There is enough of the whole to stock a large store, and the strangest legacy ever left by a housekeeper who worked for small wages all her life yet there is said to be no doubt that she came honestly by all, as it has since been ascertained where and of whom she purchased them at various times as she went along. The original cost of the goods was not less than $11000, and the owner while she lived went clad in the very cheapest sort of apparel, the strangest specimen of humanity ever known in these parts (Burlington Free Press (Burlington, VT), June 7, 1877).

The Vermont Journal carried also the same Foster’s story, with an additional detail of the auctioneer.

Park Copp will sell the whole at auction in Milton (Vermont Journal (Windsor, VT), June 2, 1877).

Joanna Farnham, a domestic, aged fifty years (born ME), was a resident employee of a Boston hotel at the time of the Seventh (1850) Federal Census. Lewis Price, hotel keeper, aged forty years, headed the hotel “household,” which included his own family, guests, as well as four resident employees. Price had real estate valued at $137,200.

Joanna Farnham, a domestic, aged sixty-five years (born ME), was a resident employee of Boston’s American House at the time of the Eighth (1860) Federal Census. Lewis Price, hotel proprietor, aged fifty years, headed the American House “household,” which included his own family, guests, as well as 104 resident employees. Price had real estate valued at $230,000 and personal estate valued at $40,000.

Johanna Farnum, a bath room girl, aged seventy-eight years (born ME), was a resident employee of Boston’s American House at the time of the Ninth (1870) Federal Census. Lewis Price, hotel proprietor, aged sixty years, headed the American House “household,” which included his own family, guests, as well as 126 resident employees: bartenders, billiards boys, cashiers, chambermaids, clerks, cooks, domestic servants, errand boys, fireman, gas man, laundresses, nurse, pantry girl, porters, seamstress, steam engineer, stewards, stove girls, sweepers, waiters, and wash girls. Price had real estate valued at $400,000 and personal estate valued at $75,000.


Stephen H. Knight, a stereotype printer (and former shoe factory employee) from Milton, aged sixty-six years, took sick and died in Boston, MA in September.

THE POLICE RECORD. Various Items, Criminal, Accidental and Otherwise, Gathered from the Courts and Police Stations. Stephen Knight, belonging in Milton, N.H., and sixty-six years old, while sitting in a slip in the saloon of Burns, 108 Portland street, was taken suddenly ill about 11 A.M. yesterday. Drs. Snow and Cilley were called, but in spite of their efforts he died shortly before noon. The deceased was a stereotyper by trade, and leaves a wife. He was, it is said, a brother to Dr. Edward Knight, at 618 Tremont street, this city. It is supposed the cause of death was heart disease (Boston Globe, September 5, 1877).

Stephen H. Knight, a shoe factory worker, aged fifty-seven years, headed a Milton (Milton Mills P.O.) household at the time of the Ninth (1870) Federal Census. His household included Louisa C. [(Clarey)] Knight, keeping house, aged fifty years, Adelaide Knight, at home, aged eighteen years, Clarinda A. Knight, at home, aged seventeen years, and Daniel B.  Nichols, a shoe factory worker, aged forty-six years. Stephen H. Knight had real estate valued at $600 and personal estate valued at $200.

Louisa Knight, keeping house, aged fifty-nine years, headed a Milton household at the time of the Tenth (1880) Federal Census. Her household included her children, Elbridge G. Knight works on shoes, aged thirty years, and Clarie A. Knight, does housework, aged twenty-seven years. Both Elbridge G. and Clarie A. Knight had been unemployed for six months of the year.


Previous in sequence: Milton in the News – 1876; next in sequence: Milton in the News – 1878


References:

Find a Grave. (2010, July 22). Joanna Farnham. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/55312457/joanna-farnham

Find a Grave. (2014, September 18). Stephen Knight. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/136056728

Wikipedia. (2018, October 15). American House (Boston). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_House_(Boston)

Wikipedia. (2018 November 26). Stereotype (Printing). Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereotype_(printing)

 

 

Author: Muriel Bristol

"Lady drinking tea"

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